Mark Allen has lost over four stone in weight during the summer and looks to have new impetus on the table, beating Judd Trump 4-3 to reach the quarter-finals of the Cazoo British Open.
Northern Ireland’s Allen struggled for results in the second half of last season, but slimming down has helped his game and he looks sharp this week. The 36-year-old can look forward to a meeting with Mark Selby on Friday afternoon in Milton Keynes.
Mark Selby v Mark Allen
Robbie Williams v Lyu Haotian
Noppon Saengkham v Jamie Jones
Ryan Day v Yuan Sijun
Breaks of 68 and 67 helped put Allen 2-0 ahead of Trump, and he might have extended his lead but missed the last red to a baulk corner in frame three. That handed Trump a lifeline and he thumped the red into the same pocket, cleared for 2-1 then took the next frame to square the match. Allen regained the lead before Trump’s 109 made it 3-3.
In the decider, Trump had first chance and made 38 before playing safe. Allen’s counter ended when he missed the last red to a top corner on 55, and he was fortunate to snooker his opponent behind the black. Another slice of luck on his next shot saw him snooker Trump again, and from the chance that followed the Antrim cueman cleared for victory.
“From 2-0 I let Judd back into the match,” said world number 14 Allen. “But in the end I hung in there and made a decent 55 in the last frame. I was lucky that Judd wasn’t quite at his best tonight. My focus was good. I will need to play better than that against Mark Selby, but I really enjoy testing myself against the top players.”
Selby gave the clearest indication yet of a return to his best form as he beat Jack Lisowski 4-1 and made a superb 147. The maximum gave Selby the opening frame, then the second went to a respotted black and he converted a double to a centre pocket for 2-0. The Leicester cueman got the better of a battle on the last red in the third and extended his lead.
Lisowski showed his quality during a break of 119 as he pulled one back, but a long red early in frame five set up Selby for a match-winning 117.
“It was fantastic to make the 147 on live on TV, it’s extra special,” said four-time Crucible king Selby. “I had no choice but to go for the treble (on the 12th red), it was a one in 50 shot.”
Jamie Jones beat Ben Woollaston 4-2 to reach his second quarter-final of the season, having made the same stage of the BetVictor European Masters. Welshman Jones was due to run the London Marathon on Sunday but snooker takes priority.
“I am supposed to collect my number by Saturday evening, so if I win my quarter-final here I’ll have to think carefully about whether to pull out of the marathon,” said Jones, who now meets Noppon Saengkham, a 4-0 winner over Jordan Brown. “If that happens then I will run a virtual marathon in Neath next week and people will come out and run with me, which would be great anyway. Either way it’s going to be a positive end to the week for me.
“I played well in patches tonight. All of the underdogs left in the draw realise this is a great opportunity, as the random draw has kept us away from the bigger names.”
China’s Lyu Hoatian made breaks of 141 and 131 as he beat Matthew Stevens 4-1, setting up a tie with Robbie Williams, who ended the run of amateur Steven Hallworth. From 3-2 down, Williams took a scrappy sixth frame, then finished in style with a 134 total clearance.
Yuan Sijun edged out Anthony Hamilton 4-3 and now meets Ryan Day, who beat Graeme Dott 4-2.